The Everyday Lore Project

30 August 2020 – Plague Sunday

30 August 2020 – Plague Sunday

I messed up. I was supposed to do the egg cleanse today, as yesterday there were actual calendar customs I could have done. Like practicing my Terminator impression for the 23rd anniversary of Skynet’s nuclear hissy fit, otherwise known as Judgment Day. Or searching for red spots on St John’s wort flowers, or finding red-tinged daisy petals, as these appear to commemorate the Feast of the Beheading of St John the Baptist (or having a go at the dance of the seven veils for that matter). But no, I crossed my days and got friendly with an egg. 

So, on with Plague Sunday instead, the last Sunday in August named to honour and remember the sacrifice of the people of Eyam, Derbyshire, most of whom died in C17th when their village was locked down to contain the spread of the plague. Now you see why I wanted to do the egg cleanse today. But rather than concentrate on the death aspect of today, I thought I would do something more living. Like grow mustard. 

Mustard was thought to be a remedy for the plague (and snakebites) and also, as the Royal College of Physicians of London wrote in 1604, the ‘corruption of impatience, distrustfulnesse, and immoderate feare’ and given the egg revealed a lot of people out to get me, growing mustard felt like a win win. 

Luckily, I cook a lot with mustard seed. So after checking it was okay to use them, I chucked a load in a pot of earth, although slightly more than I’d intended, and watered them. I’m not entirely hopeful this will work, as mustard is supposed to be sown in April. However, it’s said this is the right time of the month to sow above ground crops as it’s the first quarter to the full moon. But let’s face it, my hollyhock seeds didn’t grow and were proper, not raided from a spice jar, so we shall see.

In other veg news, my mangelwurzels are getting bushy but I may have killed off my garlic. 

And you’ve still got until 8am on Tuesday, 1 September to sign up for a chance to receive a piece of Everyday Lore history. So, in the words of Mrs Doyle:


Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Leendertz, L. (2019) The Almanac, A Seasonal Guide to 2020, London, Mitchell Beazley

Royal College of Physicians of London (1636) The Kings medicines for the plague prescribed for the yeare 1604. by the whole Colledge of Physitians, both spirituall and temporall. And now most fitting for this dangerous time of infection, to be used all England over, London, Henry Gosson;view=fulltext

Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

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